Dozens of species belong to the genus of carnations, widespread in Europe, Asia and North America; they can be annual, perennial or biennial.
The flower blooms in spring, summer or even in autumn for some species, and is very particular: from a tubular part five elongated petals sprout, often with fringed margins, white, pink, or red, sometimes spotted or variegated in color darker; singles bloom, carried on long stems, or even in bunches. There are double-flowered or stradubbed species, especially the hybrids cultivated to produce cut flowers. The flowers are followed by large capsules containing the seeds. The stems are rigid, divided by large and showy knots, of green or glaucous green color, because they are covered by a pruinose substance; the foliage is linear or lanceolate, of small size, quite coriaceous; some species are evergreen.
The cultivation of the CarnationThe most cultivated species are just a few, among which we recall:
- Dianthus caryophyllus: it is the most often hybridized carnation, since it produces single and quite large flowers; It is a perennial plant, of Mediterranean origin, which was cultivated even in Roman times; produces small bushes, 50 to 80 cm high, from which countless flowers bloom, from the end of spring until autumn. It prefers beautiful bright and sunny locations, and is satisfied with any soil, as long as it is well drained and not particularly acidic. Generally the plant begins to germinate best in late spring, and in this period it is necessary to provide watering, always waiting for the soil to be dry; if the climate is particularly dry, let us pause to water the plant more abundantly. Watering will continue until autumn, and every 12.15 days it is preferable to add fertilizer for flowering plants to the water. In autumn it is advisable to prune the plant up to 25-35 cm from the ground, to favor a compact and dense development.
- Dianthus chinensis:
small perennial of Asian origin, there are very many hybrids in cultivation; the flowers bloom throughout the beautiful season, on small bushes of leaves, 25-35 cm high; they are of various colors, from pink to red, and of small dimensions, often gathered in small bunches; near the edge of the petals there is often a line of contrasting color with respect to the color of the petal itself, and also the central eye of the flower is often dark in color. They are cultivated in a sunny place, and after the first sprouting period they do not need excessively assiduous care. Generally these geraniums bloom more abundantly during the first year of vegetation, which is why they are often grown as annuals.
- Dianthus barbatus:
also called poetic carnation, it is a perennial, often cultivated as an annual; the size of the plant is very small, below 30 cm, and makes it very suitable for flower beds or borders. The flowers bloom from spring until late summer, sometimes even until autumn. They are very small in size, brightly colored and gathered in small bunches; the cultivation is simple, they need only a quite sunny position, and waterings to supply when the ground is well dry; during the summer months we avoid exposing these carnations to an excessively hot and dry climate.
Carnation - Dianthus: - Dianthus plumarius:
cultivated as an annual or even as a perennial, this carnation produces beautiful flowers with very frayed petals, generally in shades of pink, throughout the spring and summer. It prefers sunny locations and very well drained soils, very suitable for cultivation in rocky gardens.